haibun: A Year in the Life of a Tree

This is for Wordy Thursday over at Real Toads.  We are to write positively about trees, the Wild Woman movement, climate change, etc.  there is a movement afoot called “Tree Sisters: Seeding for Change, aim to plant a billion trees world-wide this year, and they are well on their way.”  I love trees.  This is about my best friend among the trees. I broke tradition and did not write a haiku but instead, a mini poem, not a tanka.


A year in the Life of a Tree

We moved into this house 20 years ago. My husband had had his eye on this house for sometime so when it became available, we snapped it up. The day after we moved in, I went on a walk through the woods that are on and adjoin our property. I grew up around trees – ancient oaks, dancing pines, lacy cherry trees, flaming maples, whispering willows. I fell in love with them all. Being a true believer in *Shinrin-yoku, I fell in love with trees all over again. The fact that these were our trees made the love sweeter, more delicious, deeper. I walked among the trees that day, touching each one of them, looking up into their leaved canopy, feeling their roots spreading beneath me. I felt the love welcoming me. Everyday I walk among them. All sadness, stress, anger – everything disappears when I walk among my friends.

My best friend in particular is one huge, ancient oak. Many times I have climbed up among its branches sitting cradled in them, my back against its bark. I have watched the woodland creatures on their daily errands, seen birds flying and nesting, watched a snake or a lizard stretching around their trunks. But this one, this particular one…he has made me most welcome. I will often climb up with a book and a bottle of water in a small pack on my back. Often, I have my violin hung on my back. I sit and play for the trees, for myself. Sometimes the songs are sad, often they lilt and dance. I have watched my life passing by in their leaves – from tender spring green to fading autumn colors. My best friend is always there – in rain, snow, winter, summer…the song I most often play for my friend is La Musica Notturna Delle Estrade di Madrid form No. 6, Opus 30 bu Boccherini. I fell in love with the song after watching the movie Master and Commander. It seemed the perfect song for my tree. The leaves all dance and the birds settle down and listen. It took me almost a year to learn the song.

a year in the life
of a tree goes by slowly –
the violin sings –
I play and the leaves dance
my friend smiles as do I

*shinrin-yoku – Japanese for forest bathing

La musica nottuna dell estrade di madrid no.6 op.30

23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Timeless Classics -- Poetry by Ana Daksina
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 17:55:16

    Hey, darlin’ gosh, this is so beautiful… So, one true poet to another, not to be rude but just in case — did you leave the word “I” out of the last line on purpose? 😘


  2. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 17:58:54

    …the violin sings as you are cradled in the old oak tree – Love that and the trio is wonderful cello, violin and …. guitar. Never would have thought I’d enjoy it so much! I remember liking the movie very much too – quite a series of books I might add.


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 18, 2018 @ 18:32:10

      Yes they are quite a series and I enjoyed them thoroughly. I am glad you enjoyed the trio. It took me a year to learn it by heart so I don’t have to lug music along with me. In spite of it being so cold, I think my friends need a bit of music to warm them up. I was sorry to read about you returning from your father ‘s funeral. My deepest sympathies are with you.


  3. Sherry Marr
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 18:06:42

    Oh my goodness, this just seeped into my soul. I adore that you felt the love welcoming you – trees DO love us back, as does all of the natural world, when we are attuned to it. I LOVE that you sit in the tree and play violin music for it. How they must love that. Thank you for this, Toni. It was such a deep pleasure to read.


  4. Vivian Zems
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 19:27:44

    Toni, I just knew you would write from the heart on this one…and you did! I’ve come to equate you with the pleasures of nature….and I wasn’t disappointed! Loved the write and the tanka!


  5. Victoria C. Slotto
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 20:53:44

    That is so very beautiful. I was not familiar with that piece–perfect for your friends and most definitely not easy. When you play alone, do you also play the melody for the cello and guitar. The prose and poem–sublime. Funny, today when I took the dogs on their walk, I saw a number of trees I wanted to climb though I’m not sure I could like I did when I was a child. The problem was, it didn’t seem like any of them were high enough that I could really be alone. I thought of Mary Oliver who speaks of climbing trees and spending hours there just to think. Serendipitous.


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 18, 2018 @ 22:31:34

      I play the melody of the cello on the violin and turn the violin and play it as a guitar as it was played in the movie. I wander through this part of the piece at my own sweet will. I have been a tree climber all of my life. I love Mary Oliver and her writing. Sometimes in summer, it is not how high you climb but how you are concealed in the leaves. I think, take naps, read, watch. Once when I was 5, my mother’s middle sister who is 12 years older than me, spent all day Saturday searching and ironing her beautiful pink crinoline for a date that night. She went to a neighbor’s and while there I grabbed that beautiful crinoline and wore it like a tutu dancing around in the yard. She came home and saw me and took off chasing me. We ran around the house several times before I shinnied up the tree and getting to where she couldn’t reach me I dropped the crinoline down at her feet. She still holds it against me! 😊


  6. oldegg
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 21:38:24

    How engaging how beautiful this piece is. I thoroughly enjoyed accompanied by the muic…Wonderful.


  7. C Burtt
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 21:47:30

    This is poignant and utterly beautiful!!


  8. Jae Rose
    Jan 19, 2018 @ 01:25:51

    Beautiful story and i loved the end haiku – seemed to sum everything up wonderfully


  9. coalblack
    Jan 19, 2018 @ 07:28:59

    I’m so glad you included the music video! it has a real sea-going lilt to it, and also fits for waving tree branches and fluttering leaves! Count me among the forest lovers. Nothing centers me like a walk in the woods.

    By the way, this morning i found comments you had made–and those of 3 other people–in the spam folder at Toads, I don’t know why they were there, but they are now approved and appearing where they should.


    • kanzensakura
      Jan 19, 2018 @ 07:58:12

      Thank you Shay! The whole piece of music in its entirety is gorgeous. It is one of my favorite pieces of music. My trees love it as well. Nothing like being in a tree with the warm breezes going and wood life living its various lives. Check out the music on YouTube. My husband and I once did a waltz to the music for dance class. Our round little selves got a most enthusiastic round of applause when we were through. I think I am reincarnated Royal Navy person … Get me on the high seas and I am happy. My poor husband pukes every time. Check your settings on SO for discussion and moderation for the Spam mystery.


  10. Kerry
    Jan 19, 2018 @ 10:14:11

    I also once had a tree as a best friend…


  11. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jan 19, 2018 @ 14:23:26

    I have an oak tree in my garden too… but I mostly watch it from below… how I wish I could play for it… maybe I should sing? but I guess it would lay down and die then 🙂


  12. Frank J. Tassone
    Jan 19, 2018 @ 19:18:43

    You’ve written a tribute of sheer delight to a dear friend, a beloved song and the lost art of tree climbing. What a wonderous, unconventional haibun with a tank- er-micropoem ending! Great write, Toni!


  13. Frank J. Tassone
    Jan 19, 2018 @ 19:52:32

    Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #13: Toni Kanza’s latest #haibun, with a “mini poem” that she won’t call a tanka, but that I will call #tanka-esque!


  14. rothpoetry
    Dec 10, 2018 @ 21:49:27

    So sad that all those rings can be burned or torn down in a days time. Well done!


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